By Soumyajit Saha
June 17 (Reuters) – Australian shares gained on Wednesday as hopes of a global economic recovery rose after U.S. retail sales data in May showed a record jump and boosted Wall Street overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.36% to 5,963.5 in early trade, on track to rise for the second straight session.â€‹ The index is down 11.1% so far this year.
Overnight, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.04%, the S&P 500 gained 1.90%, and the Nasdaq jumped 1.75%.
While U.S. retail sales jumped by a record 17.7% in May, news that Washington is preparing a $1-trillion infrastructure package to jump-start the economy also aided sentiment.
Meanwhile, domestic data during market hours on Tuesday showed a pickup in Australian payrolls, and the countryâ€™s central bank said the economic downturn could be shallower than earlier expected.
Viva Energy Ltd was among the top gainers on the benchmark index as brokerage Jefferies raised its earnings outlook for the company.
The ASX 200 Energy index rose 0.12% as oil prices jumped overnight on economic recovery hopes and a raised oil demand forecast by the International Energy Agency for 2020.
Technology stocks rose 1.53% led by WiseTech Global Ltd, up 3.41%.
The number of issues on the ASX that advanced were 665 while 365 declined as a 1.8-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
Mining stocks were flat, while financial stocks were marginally lower.
Chinese iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell 1%.
In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.78%, with top percentage gainers A2 Milk Company up 4.4%. (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)